Five strategies for community success in mitigating social and economic challenges

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Five strategies for community success in mitigating social and economic challenges

While communities face constant challenges from both internal and external forces that can affect its social and economic success, there are five strategic strategies communities can deploy to strengthen their ability to withstand community shocks that may limit their social and economic potential. In deploying such strategies, communities become more often than not proactive, flexible and better equipped to adapt and respond effectively at mitigating pressing issues compared to those that do not have such a framework and remain static and reactionary in managing community challenges.  While there is no one shoe fits all or cookie cutter solutions to the challenges communities face on a continuous basis, the five strategic strategies provide a solid framework for communities to consider as they explore methods and strategies in search of a path forward toward long-term community success. The following five strategic strategies are:

  1. Engaged citizens

It all begins here. A community is only as good as the consistent engagement of its citizens in solving its own problems. Of the five strategies, the most important is engaged citizens. Engaged citizens are needed to affect long term systematic change in just about every aspect in a city.  Their engagement is required to take control of managing pressing local challenges and to ensure the community’s power structure is responsive to community needs and concerns. In a time when resources are limited and communities across the globe are fighting for resources, talent, jobs and economic prosperity, it’s imperative that citizens are engaged and in doing so act as a collective unit establishing a powerful community identity which communicates that its people matter and that any and all community problems that limit the ability of the community to reach its full social and economic potential shall be met with a strong response from its citizens.

  1. Community vision, creative leadership and strategic community action

As the old saying goes, a community with no vision shall perish. In this context, a key to a community’s ability to address its local challenges and remain or become economically and socially competitive is the realization that it must have a vision as to where its city is going, what it wants to be and how it will get there. In other words, the community needs to have a community battle plan that supports waging war to win the battle for social and economic prosperity. This vision must propel its citizens and institutions to be optimistic and action oriented about the city’s future and in doing so provide the necessary fuel that supports the community in mitigating challenges that restricts it from reaching the vision.

  1. Progressive urban policy agenda which supports social and economic growth 

Here is where the rubber meets the road. Every great community has in place, led by its citizens and implemented by elected local officials, urban policies which set the context for the city as a whole, its citizens, business and institutions to succeed both economically and socially. This is best achieved by local legislative bodies having a defined urban policy agenda with actionable items, supported by engaged citizens that can assist in developing a local environment for success. In others words, for its citizens, businesses and institutions, the local policy environment becomes such that for all that are trying to make it a go as contributing citizens, businesses and organizations within the city, meaning they are giving it all they have to succeed, the city should have a policy environment that supports such efforts. Here is the thing, this is a rare phenomenon in cities given that most local legislative bodies are reactionary and not progressively linking policy to environmental success for its people and institutions and its ability to compete in an ever changing global society. The challenge for communities is to reach a point where the citizens and local elected officials see and appreciate the big picture and align their efforts that support the long term economic success of the community.

  1. Safe community for all citizens to thrive

Crime is the one issue that can stifle the development of a community’s ability to move progressively toward both social and economic prosperity. The mitigation of crime is not just the responsibility of the local government. It requires engaged citizens, business and local institutions and organizations working constantly to root out and affect change when it comes to dealing with crime. This requires the eradication of the combined elements of the physical, social and economic challenges which fuels crime. More importantly, a community must develop a brand that through its actions clearly communicates that violent acts that hamper the ability of citizens to feel safe and threaten the social and economic growth of the community shall be met with the greatest response possible by the community as a whole.

  1. Community of lifelong learners constantly adapting to change

Education is one of the world’s greatest equalizers which support individuals and communities in reaching their peak performance socially and economically. In order for a community to be seen as world class and a community that can adapt to change, all of its institutions, organizations, businesses and people must make access to quality education for all mist citizens a number one priority. This means moving mountains to support schools financially, socially, and leading with the idea that education matters more than anything and that the future as a community will depend on the combined community’s success in this arena.

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